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William  McCarthy

William McCarthy

Professor
Department: Accounting and Information Systems

Office: Business College Complex

Telephone: 517-432-2913

Email: mccarthy@broad.msu.edu



William McCarthy is a Professor of Accounting and Information Systems at Michigan State University. Professor McCarthy joined the MSU faculty in January of 1978.   

Professor McCarthy's research interests center on the application of knowledge-based systems, object orientation, and database theories to the problems of building better accounting systems. His 1982 paper on REA (Resource-Event-Agent) accounting systems was given the first "Seminal Contribution to the Accounting Information Systems Literature Award" by the AAA in 1996, and his present research focuses on (1) the development of REA enterprise ontologies, (2) the use of independent-view REA models in open value networks (OVN) and blockchain environments, and (3) the development of component-based information system architectures with REA business process patterns and their integration with OVNs. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and by multiple accounting firms.  An overview of his REA research, given in a September 2016 speech to the American Accounting Association, is available here:

 http://aaahq.org/Meetings/2016/Accounting-Is-Big-Data-Conference/Video-Gallery/AIBD-Video-10-Public  

Professor McCarthy has been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the accounting information systems track within the masters program at MSU, a track that continues to enjoy a high degree of placement and acceptance from accounting, consulting, and industrial firms around the country. For his teaching efforts there, he has been given student-selected teaching awards from the Masters in Accounting and from the Broad MBA programs. In 2003, he was given the American Accounting Association's "Innovation in Accounting Education Award" for his role in developing semantic modeling approaches to teaching accounting information systems. He has supervised nine doctoral dissertations, including the 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1999 national AIS award winners. He has also served as an invited participant and faculty opponent on doctoral committees in Canada, Finland, Australia, Belgium, and Austria.

Professor McCarthy worked in the Artificial Intelligence Group of Arthur Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) where he was part of a research team that analyzed the first uses of embedded semantics for the SEC's EDGAR system. Most recently, he has been especially active in international e-commerce standardization efforts. He was a member of the Business Process Analysis and Specification Schema teams of the UN-based ebXML project, and he was a member of the Business Collaboration Patterns and Business Object Type Library teams of ebTWG.  He was also active with the UN CEFACT  Technologies and Methods Workgroup and with the Business Process Catalog team. He is an editor for the ISO-based Open-EDI initiative where he was the principal architect of the accounting and economic ontology for Open-EDI (ISO 15944-4).

Professor McCarthy has served in many leadership positions at the American Accounting Association, including being Editor for The Accounting Review, being Editor for the Journal of Information Systems, and being Vice-President. He received the "AAA Outstanding Service Award" in 2007 for his efforts in educating accounting professors worldwide to teach accounting systems courses in a more conceptual and integrated fashion.

Professor McCarthy was the recipient of the Department of Accounting's "Roland F. Salmonson Outstanding Teaching Award" in 1985, 1993, 2003, and 2011. In September of 1999, he was given the "Withrow Teacher-Scholar Award," the lifetime teaching award from the Broad College of Business, and in February 2000, he was presented with the Michigan State University "Distinguished Faculty Award." In 2008, he was honored with the American Accounting Association's "Outstanding Accounting Educator Award." 


Interoperability of accounting data; Business process patterns; enterprise ontologies; e-commerce collaboration standards; enterprise information architectures; open value networks; and semantic modeling of enterprise economic phenomena

  • ACC 821: Enterprise Information Systems
  • ACC 823: Advanced Database Systems
  • ACC 825: Object-Oriented Enterprise Systems
  • ACC 890: Accounting Interoperability

Eli Broad College of Business

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